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Movie Review: Rocky 4

Updated on August 6, 2014

Rocky 4 (1985)

Rocky had to travel to Russia to fight Ivan Drago on Christmas Day and he was paid no money.
Rocky had to travel to Russia to fight Ivan Drago on Christmas Day and he was paid no money. | Source

Which One?

Who is your favorite Rocky opponent?

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Apollo is Killed in The Ring!

Rocky and Apollo are now retired and great friends. A new Olympic undefeated Russian champion named Ivan Drago comes on the scene wanting an exhibition against The Italian Stallion. Apollo decides he wants to battle it out and decides to fight Drago.

Apollo comes to the ring with James Brown singing and it was a show for the ages. In the first round Apollo dances around shooting jabs before ultimately being pummeled and stumbling back to his corner at the bell. In the second Drago unloads on Apollo until he falls to the canvas and dies in Rocky's arms. During the post fight interview as Rocky holds Apollo and stares in the eyes of Drago, the Russian champion says about Apollo, "If he dies, he dies".


Rocky Training in Russia

Rocky went to Russia to train in horrid temperatures for his match with Ivan Drago.  He trained old school in the snow and in a barn with homemade boxing equipment.,
Rocky went to Russia to train in horrid temperatures for his match with Ivan Drago. He trained old school in the snow and in a barn with homemade boxing equipment., | Source

Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago

Rocky agrees to come out of retirement in order to avenge Apollo's death and fight for American pride. He agrees to all terms of the bout including fighting on Christmas Day, fighting in Russia and fighting for free.

Training

Rocky trained for his bout with his giant opponent in snow and using old school methods. The music went well with the training and it had the best Rocky songs since Eye of the Tiger on Rocky 3. Rocky ran up snow filled mountains and lifted horse carriages along with doing sit-ups and push-ups. He has homemade training equipment and other than roadwork he did most of his training in an old rundown barn in the middle of nowhere in Russia. Grade: A-

The Fight

Rocky entered as a huge underdog against Ivan Drago. Rocky had his moments in the first half of the fight but overall he took a steady beating. Through sheer will, determination and great stamina Rocky staged a mid fight comeback and cut the Russian. Rocky tasted the canvas but the Russian boxer refused to fall until finally Rocky put him down and out with solid power punches. In the end both boxers had severe cuts, bruises, bleeding and both boxers also hit the canvas hard. Grade: B+

Rocky vs. Drago

Rocky went to war with Ivan Drago after Drago killed Apollo Creed in the ring in Ameria. It was an all out war with both men getting cut, bruised and knocked down.
Rocky went to war with Ivan Drago after Drago killed Apollo Creed in the ring in Ameria. It was an all out war with both men getting cut, bruised and knocked down. | Source

Grading Rocky 4

Plot: The storyline is excellent. Apollo comes out of retirement to fight Ivan Drago and gets killed in the ring. Rocky comes out of retirement set on vengeance and as a result he trains like a spartan. Rock has emotional issues because he feels he should have goosed in the towel during Apollo's fateful fight with Drago. Grade: A+

Acting: The acting was nothing to write home about but it was adequate. Carl Weathers was not in the movie long but he was awesome. Rocky did a good job playing the underdog boxer who made it to the top. Grade: B

Music: As always most of the music pertains to training and motivation towards competition. The songs are a perfect fit for the film especially the music during Rocky's training and when he arrives in the former Soviet Union. Grade: A

Directing: Stallone wrote and directed Rocky 4 as well as all the films in the series. The fights between Apollo and Drago and Rocky and Drago were intense and had good two way action. Grade: B

Drama: The movie is full of drama which is mainly centered on Apollo's death but also Adrienne's concern for Rocky's health. The fight, Apollo's funeral and all that goes with it was drama filled and it has left Rocky sad, mad and torn on what to do. Grade: A

Action/Fight Scenes: The fights in this Rocky may well be the best of all the Rocky films because they looked real. Rocky seemed to actually be taking hard shots and the Apollo bout was gruesome. Grade: A-

Apollo Creed's Death Was Shocking

Apollo died in Rocky's arms after being beaten to death in the ring by Ivan Drago of Russia. This event set Rocky into fight mode.
Apollo died in Rocky's arms after being beaten to death in the ring by Ivan Drago of Russia. This event set Rocky into fight mode. | Source

Stars of Rocky 4

Sylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Carl Weathers
Dolph Lundgren
Burt Young
Brigitte Nielsen
 
 
 
 
 
 
The six main stars of the fourth Rocky film.

Cast and Crew

Sylvester Stallone: Sly plays as Rocky Balboa and by now he has the role down very well. He is not a great actor but a good one nonetheless. He is retired from the sport and living the rich life until he is forced out of retirement by pride and revenge in mind. Grade: B+

Talia Shire: Shire again stars as Rocky's loving wife, Adrienne. She has concerns for Rocky's health mainly his eye sight. She actually tells Rocky that he cannot beat Ivan Drago. Grade: B-

Carl Weathers: Weathers reprises his role as retired boxing champion Apollo Creed. He does a great job in the film even though he has a short role in his final appearance of the boxing movie series. Grade: A-

Dolph Lundgren: Lundgren doesn't do much talking but he is big, intimidating looking and he does well in the fight scenes. Grade: C+

Burt Young: Adrienne's brother uncle Paulie plays his normal drunken, jealous role. He is closer to Rocky than before though and helps out The Italian Stallion in his training preparations. Grade: B-

Brigitte Nielsen: Nielsen played as Ivan Drago's wife and she did an okay job in her limited role in the film. She defends her husband against accusations that he uses steroids. Grade: C-

Rocky 4 Movie Trailer

Rocky 4 DVD on Amazon

Final Thoughts......

Aside from the first Rocky movie I find Rocky 4 to be the the second best in the series or at least tied for second with Rocky 2. Apollo Creed has become a major part of the franchise and when he died it was very dramatic indeed. If this film has a complaint it's the same as of the Rocky movies. The fights are not like real boxing with holding, ringside doctors and standard boxing rules. Otherwise, the plot, music and drama was outstanding especially for fans of the franchise or boxing fans.

In Rocky 5 it begins by showing that Balboa has slight brain damage from his bout with Ivan Drago and he re-retires.

Overall Grade: A-

Rocky and Adrienne

Adrienne is always by Rocky's side through thick and thin. She traveled to Russia to be by Rocky's side through his tumultuous training.
Adrienne is always by Rocky's side through thick and thin. She traveled to Russia to be by Rocky's side through his tumultuous training. | Source

Awards and Box Office

Rocky grossed over 300 million globally and it made the most of any film in the Rocky franchise.

The film was The Golden Screen Award in Germany.

Dolph Lundgren won the Marshall Best Actor Trophy for portraying Ivan Drago at the Napierville Cinema Festival.


Ivan Drago's Intro on Rocky 4

Location of Rocky vs. Drago Bout (Russia)

Rocky 4 Training Montage

© 2014 Buster Johnson

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